Summary: Return to Jesus, humble yourself before Him and give Him thanks
I left the country of the Philippines to move to America when I was 12 years old. Before leaving, all my Filipino friends kept telling me that everything in America is big; big buildings, big homes, big cars. And I never heard of Thanksgiving until November 1969 when we were invited to an American thanksgiving dinner. And when I saw the food, I thought to myself, My Filipino friends back home were right, that is the biggest chicken I have ever seen!
I have been enjoying the big chicken every November ever since.
Are you looking forward to your big chicken this coming Thursday?
But it’s sad isn’t it that many today are celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving just for the turkey dinner and football.
Let me remind you of the proclamation made by William Bradford, who was the governor of the Plymouth Colony in 1623, the year of the first thanksgiving celebration:
The first thanksgiving was a worship service! - giving thanks to God not only for physical blessings but for the spiritual blessings as well.
Listen to this proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln:
Let me highlight President Lincoln’s call to all Americans, He said,
I invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.
Thanksgiving Day is to be a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to God!
President Lincoln also called all Americans to humble themselves before God and seek God’s intervention in their lives!
The reason for this National Holiday this Thursday is for us to pray to God. Will we respond to President Lincoln’s call?
I encourage you to spend time alone and with your family in prayer to God this coming Thanksgiving Day.
What does our Lord Jesus Christ say about giving thanks?
There is a somewhat familiar story in the Gospel of Luke that talks about thanksgiving.
Would you please find a Bible and turn to Luke 17. You will find this Chapter on page 59 of the bibles on your tables.
Luke 17, verses 11-19 reads:
We read in Luke 17, 10 men had leprosy, a disease that eats away the flesh from the outside in. They stood afar from other people because they knew they had a disease. From a distance, they called out to Jesus; Master, have mercy on us!
They must have heard about Jesus and His miracles and teaching. They called Jesus Master and were pleading for a miraculous healing.
Jesus gave them instructions to show themselves to the priests.
Did you notice that they did not question Jesus but immediately followed and went. They were so excited about being cured!
This also indicated their faith in Jesus.
Did they ever meet the priests? They didn’t have to, did they?
Because as they were following Jesus’ instructions, on their way to the priests, they were healed! What healed them?
We see in verse 19 that it was their faith that healed them.
They cried out to Jesus. They listened to Jesus. They followed His instructions without question and they were healed!
They all had faith in Jesus and His words.
only one of the ten, when he saw he was healed, returned to Jesus.
And with a loud voice, this healed man glorified God. When he saw Jesus again, he fell to his face at Jesus’ feet.
He humbled himself before Jesus and truly gave thanks.
Look at verse 18, Jesus commended the man who returned because it glorified God.
Jesus tells the healed man to stand up and go. As if Jesus was saying, live your life and continue in your faith. Jesus was saying, build your faith in me and you will continue to honor and glorify me.
Why did God put this story in the Bible?
Was it to show that Jesus had power to physically heal people?
Why didn’t the text just say, Jesus healed the lepers, period?
No, God made a point in this story to show, that a truly grateful person glorifies God.
God is making a spiritual point in this passage.
This story of the grateful healed leper is for us today to understand our relationship with God.
People are sick today with an epidemic disease.
A disease called sin.
Jesus healed people with leprosy, a disease that eats away the flesh from the outside in.
But Jesus also heals people with sin, a disease that eats away the soul from the inside out.
Sin is a disease that eats away the soul from the inside out.
Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.